Feijoa Cake

Well feijoa season is well and truly upon us here in New Zealand and the two trees in my parents’ back garden has pretty much exploded with fruit. No-one there really eats them (or, at least, they don’t eat THAT many), but Michael loves them so we raided their lawn. Personally, I’m not a fan of feijoas so I came up with the idea of (what else?) making a cake out of them.

The cake looked and tasted pretty great and the feijoa flavour wasn’t overpowering so it got two thumbs up from me.

Ingredients:

75g butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup mashed feijoas

1/2 cup milk

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste but essence, flavouring, whatever would be fine)

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Method:

1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.

2. Mix in the mashed feijoas.

3. Add the milk, eggs and vanilla.

4. Sift the flour baking powder and baking soda together and add to the wet ingredients.

5. Mix it all up and pour into a baking paper lined (or greased) cake tin. I used a regular sized loaf tin.

6. Bake at 180C for 40 mins. I found that the cake was browning too rapidly so I covered it with tin foil after 25 mins.

Happy Baking! :D

May 3, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Baking, Cake. 1 comment.

Return of the Jedi

Alternative Post Title: Return of the Mack (Oh my God!)

As you can see from this post, I’m still alive and although I had pretty much abandoned my blog I have returned and I am determined to stick with it this time.

The title of the blog has changed from ‘The Dunedin Domestic Goddess’ to ‘The New Zealand Domestic Goddess’ since I am no longer living in Dunedin. That’s right! I finished my degree in November of last year, skipped my graduation ceremony and I am once again living in…Hamilton which is, for those of you who don’t live in New Zealand, quite possibly New Zealand’s most boring city and the butt of many a joke. What am I doing in Hamilton? Studying for a National Diploma in Journalism and working at a supermarket. Aw yeah.

Anyway, I’m really going to make an effort to keep posting here on a more or less regular basis.

Lots of love,

Stephanie

xxx

May 3, 2010. Me, Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

The Student Risotto (also, I’m not dead)

As the title (and this post’s existence) shows – I’m not dead and I apologise for not updating in forever but I was working like crazy over the summer holidays in Hamilton and all in all I’ve just been a little spaced. :)

Anyway, tonight, in a fit of poverty, we (me and my sister) raided the cupboards to see what we could throw together for dinner and inspired by this post at The Cynical Chef we settled on a risotto using what little ingredients we had. There was no chicken broth so what did we use?

Chicken Noodle Powder

That’s right. We used the chicken powder out of a packet of instant noodles. 8-)

Anyway, the resulting risotto was fairly nice even though we used really watered down chicken powder and some Colby cheese which had had time to, er, mature in the fridge.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Chicken Stock Powder

8 cups of water

4 tablespoons of butter

1 onion finely chopped

4 or 5 button mushrooms (depending on size)

3 cups of rice

1 cup of white wine

some rosemary and garlic

salt and pepper to taste

300g of grated cheese

sliced chicken breast (we used stuff intended for sandwiches)

  • In a large saucepan simmer the chicken stock and the 8 cups of water and keep warm.
  • In a large deep pan melt the butter over a medium – high heat and add the onion and the sliced mushrooms. Cook until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the rice, rosemary and garlic and cook until the rice is glossy.
  • Add the white wine and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed, stirring continuously.
  • Add the salt and pepper.
  • Add the hot broth to the pan about 1/2 cup at a time letting all the liquid be absorbed before adding more. Continue until the rice is cooked.
  • Stir in the grated cheese and cooked chicken.

Risotto

February 11, 2009. Tags: , , , . Cooking, Risotto. Leave a comment.

Daring Bakers November Challenge: Caramel Cake

This month’s (or rather LAST month’s) Daring Bakers challenge was to make Shuna Fish Lydon’s signature Caramel Cake and it was absolutely divine. November’s challenge was hosted by Dolores of Culinary Curiosity, Alex from Blondie and Brownie, Jenny of Foray into Food, and Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go helped out with the alternative baking recipe for the cake.

The recipe is Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon , as published on Bay Area Bites.
You can as an added option make
Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Press, Copyright 2007, ISBN: 978-1579652111

Now the cake itself was perfect, I drizzled some left over caramel syrup over the top and everyone seemed to like it, including my brother who ate most of it I think. Unfortunately my attempt at the caramels was not so successful. I don’t have a candy thermometer but I thought I’d give it a go anyway and, well, that wasn’t the best idea and the caramel, while delicious, never really set properly. Ah well, I ate it anyway.

Top of cake - Closeup

Caramel Cake - Side

THE RECIPES:

CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Notes from Natalie for those of you baking gluten-free:

So the GF changes to the cake would be:

2 cups of gluten free flour blend (w/xanthan gum) or 2 cups of gf flour blend + 1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 – 1 tsp baking powder (this would be the recipe amount to the amount it might need to be raised to & I’m going to check)

I’ll let you when I get the cake finished, how it turns out and if the baking powder amount needs to be raised.

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

CARAMEL SYRUP

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for “stopping” the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner’s sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)

(Optional) GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS
- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -

Ingredients
1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

Equipment
A 9-inch square baking pan
Candy thermometer

Procedure

Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife.  Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.

Variations

Fleur de Sel Caramels: Extra salt, in the form of fleur de sel or another coarse flaked salt, brings out the flavor of the caramel and offers a little ying to the yang. Add an extra scant 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt to the recipe. Or, to keep the salt crunchy, let the caramel cool and firm. Then sprinkle with two pinches of flaky salt and press it in. Invert, remove the pan liner, sprinkle with more salt. Then cut and wrap the caramels in wax paper or cellophane.

Nutmeg and Vanilla Bean Caramels: Add 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg to the cream before you heat it.

Cardamom Caramels: Omit the vanilla. Add 1/2 teaspoon slightly crushed cardamom seeds (from about 15 cardamom pods) to the cream before heating it. Strain the cream when you add it to the caramel; discard the seeds.

Caramel Sauce: Stop cooking any caramel recipe or variation when it reaches 225°F or, for a sauce that thickens like hot fudge over ice cream, 228°F. Pour it into a sauceboat to serve or into a heatproof jar for storage. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for ages and reheated gently in the microwave or a saucepan just until hot and flowing before use. You can stir in rum or brandy to taste. If the sauce is too thick or stiff to serve over ice cream, it can always be thinned with a little water or cream. Or, if you like a sauce that thickens more over ice cream, simmer it for a few minutes longer.
(recipe from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert)

The cake was delicious and as always you can check out other people’s Caramel Cakes by either taking a look at the blogroll or maybe by trying a Google search. )

Happy Baking! )

December 3, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Baking, Daring Bakers, November. 2 comments.

Cluster Map Cake

To celebrate his class’s blog getting 20, 000 page views, my Dad asked me to make a cake for him to share with his class, so here it is:

20, 000 Cake

900g of butter, 900g of sugar, 900g of self raising flour, 18 eggs and 2.5kgs of fondant icing. :)

November 21, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Baking, Cake. 1 comment.

Daring Bakers October Challenge: Pizza!

I know, I know, the write up is late but I did do this challenge before the posting date I’ve just been busy with studying for exams and, well, sitting around doing nothing.

Anyway, October’s challenge was to make some pizzas with your choice of topping which sounds easy enough but the catch was that when making the dough you had to toss it like a real pizzaiolo. Let’s just say that the tossing had some hilarious results which included a fist sized hole in the dough and dropping one lot of it on the floor. :P

I took photos of two pizzas that I made, but the dough made enough for six pizzas so I was eating it for about a week. :D The first pizza I made was a Hawaiian one with cheese, ham and pineapple and the second was a sweet pizza made with caramel sauce, apple slices, cinnamon and crumble topping. I ate it topped with some whipped cream and it was delicious. The caramel sauce was simple – melted  1 cup butter in a saucepan and added 1 cup caster sugar until it caramelized and then added 1/2 cup cream and stirred until smooth.

Cheese, Ham and Pineapple Pizza

Tossing the Dough

Tossing the Dough

All stretched out

All stretched out

Making the stuffed crust

Making the stuffed crust

Putting the topping on

Putting the topping on

Finished!

Finished!

Caramel Apple Crumble Pizza

Close up of finished pizza

Close up of finished pizza

Caramel Apple Crumble Pizza

Caramel Apple Crumble Pizza

~ BASIC PIZZA DOUGH ~
Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

Ingredients:
4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled – FOR GF: 4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1 ½ cup arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast – FOR GF use 2 tsp
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar – FOR GF use agave syrup
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting

DAY ONE

Method:
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

Or

2.  FOR GF: Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough.

3. Flour a work surface or counter.  Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them.  Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.

DAY TWO

8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

Or

8.  FOR GF:  On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator.  Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

Or

10.  FOR GF: Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter – for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough).

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.
During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping.
In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.
You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter – for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

Or

11.  FOR GF: Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

Or

12.  FOR GF:  Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

Or

13.  FOR GF:  Follow the notes for this step.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

Happy Baking! :)

November 3, 2008. Tags: , , , . Baking, Daring Bakers, October. Leave a comment.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake – Mmmm. Retro.

Well our end of year exams for university have arrived and instead of revising for them I’ve been listening to the Kings of Leon, dyeing my hair and making Pineapple Upside Down Cakes (I’ve made three of them in the past week). Is there any better way to procrastinate? :)

Anyway, the cake was delicious although I would recommend reducing the baking time by about five minutes because the first time I made it it was a little dry but after reducing the time for the next ones they came out perfect.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

* 90g (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted

* 1/2 cup (95g/3 0z) soft brown sugar

* 440g (14oz) can of pineapple rings in natural juice

* 6 red glacé cherries

* 125g (4 oz) unsalted butter, extra, softened

* 3/4 cup (185g/6 oz) of caster sugar

* 2 eggs, lightly beaten

* 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

* 1 1/2 cups (185g/ 6 oz) self-raising flour

* 1/2 cup (60g/ 2 oz) of plain flour

* 1/3 cup (30g/ 1 oz) of dessicated coconut

What To Do:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).

2. Pour the melted butter into a 20 cm (8 inch) round tin, brushing some of it up the sides but leaving most of it on the base.

3. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the base.

4. Drain the pineapple rings and save 1/2 cup of the juice.

5. Arrange the pineapple rings over the base of the tins (five on the outside and one in the centre) and put a cherry in the centre of each ring.

6. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla essence and beat until combined.

7. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the sifted flours, then add the coconut and pineapple juice. Stir until the mixture is just combined and smooth. The mixture will be quite thick.

8. Spoon the mixture into the tin over the pineapple rings and smooth the surface. indent the centre slightly with the back of a spoon so the cake will have a flat base to sit on.

9. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

10. Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate or rack to cool.

The recipe came from ‘The Essential Baking Cookbook‘.

Happy Baking! :)

October 17, 2008. Tags: , , . Baking, Cake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake. 2 comments.

Esther’s Birthday

It was Maziah’s friend’s birthday a few weeks ago and she asked me to make ten chocolate cupcakes for her with the message ‘Happy 19th Esther’ in the same colours as her first order. :)

September 24, 2008. Tags: , , , . Baking, Chocolate, Cupcakes, Orders. Leave a comment.

Daring Bakers August Challenge: Chocolate Éclairs by Pierre Hermé

Yum Yum Yum.

After taking a month off from participating in the Daring Bakers Challenges, I got straight back into the swing of things with August’s challenge which was to make delicious Chocolate Éclairs. These were actually way easier than I thought they would be and I’m pretty sure I’m going to make them again some time. :) This time I actually changed the recipe slightly by making a strawberry pastry cream which I made by adding 250g of mashed strawberries to the pastry cream instead of chocolate.

The dough itself was fairly easy if a bit time consuming but it was well worth it. The only thing that didn’t work too well was the actual pastry cream. It turned out to be a bit on the runny side but that probably had something to do with the strawberries and stuff.

Anyway, here’s the recipe if you want it. :D

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds by
positioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets with
waxed or parchment paper.

2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough.
Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers.
Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff.
The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.

3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the
handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the
oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back. Continue
baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking
time should be approximately 20 minutes.

Notes:
1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.

Assembling the éclairs:

• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)

1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the
bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.

2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40
degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of
the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the
bottoms with the pastry cream.

3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms
with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream
and wriggle gently to settle them.

Notes:
1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,
stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create
bubbles.

2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 20-24 Éclairs)

• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
boil.

2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
will be very soft and smooth.

3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.

4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Notes:
1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.

2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking
sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the
piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé

• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.  In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.

2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the tempered yolk mixture.

3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled.  Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.

4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it  remains smooth.

5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.

[bNotes:[/b]
1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.

3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1 cup or 300g)

• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.

2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

Notes:
1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly
 in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.

2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104  F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce
Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé
(makes 1½ cups or 525 g)

• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly.  Then reduce the heat  to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.

2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.

Notes:
1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or  a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

These were delicious and as always you can check out other people’s Éclairs by either taking a look at the blogroll or maybe by trying a Google search. :)

Happy Baking! :)

September 1, 2008. Tags: , , , . August, Baking, Daring Bakers. Leave a comment.

ICE: Challenge One – VOTING OPEN!

Voting is now open for the first challenge of Iron Cupcake: Earth, so get on over to No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner and vote. Preferably for me. ;)

Voting is open until noon (Central) on Thursday September 4th.

September 1, 2008. Tags: , , . Baking, Cupcakes, Iron Cupcake: Earth. Leave a comment.

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